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The Lagos coast is dotted with islands. The resident of these islands’ main occupation is fishing. Accessibility is only by water, using speed boats or canoes with fitted speed engines. These islands have been left behind when it comes to economic progress but over time, they have come to be known for their tourism potentials. Along the Atlantic coast and the Lagos lagoon, we have such islands as Tarkwa Bay, Ilashe, Ibeshe to mention a few. Like other beaches in Lagos, their pristine white sands are a beauty and gradually, these island beaches are becoming not just tourist spots but luxurious havens.
The island beach of Tarkwa Bay is right along the water way of the incoming ships going to dock their shipments at the Lagos port in Apapa. It is nestled between two manmade walls of rocks. These pile of rocks buffer the waves of the ocean currents thereby creating a bay calm enough for swimming. Though this island is known for a whole lot of vices, it is still one of the most serene and beautiful beaches I know, unspoilt by too many developments unlike the other more accessible beaches.
To get to Tarkwa Bay, you will have to take a boat ride from any of the jetties along the marina and Victoria Island. I usually pick my ride from the Bonny Jetty which is just by the bridge after bonny camp bus stop. This place is a military zone and has a parking lot. With a token fee of about N200, you are assured of the safety of your vehicle while on the island. Another reason I do this is because the boat operators here are mainly members of the Tarkwa Bay community and it is a way to help them make a living. Their boats are basic wooden structures with fitted engines so if you are looking for a more luxurious craft, you’ll have to seek your ride further along Victoria Island. As much as I love this beach, I prefer to go with a party which is usually cheaper. Haggling of fare is allowed though the price range is usually between N300 – N500 per person for a single trip.
There are two sides to getting on the island: the jetty that leads straight into the village and the bay access directly to the beach. So when visiting, ensure you are taken directly to the beach. Most often, visitors are dropped close to beach in the surfs so ensure you are wearing easily removable footwear. However, As you step off the boat into the waters, the sight that you behold is that of boats resting on the sandy beach and boys and men loafing, awaiting the arrival of tourists and beach lovers to lend a helping hand for a token, and pristine and clear ocean waters washing and breaking upon the white sands all around you.
Getting on the sands, you are accosted by urchins and asked to pay for a ticket. While this is not an entrance fee, sometimes you may not be able to talk your way through hence; you may have to part with some money. Here, your bargaining powers come to play. With no serious jobs on the island, the youths of the community appreciate the livelihood derived from the beach. While some of the youths of the community have taken to extortion from tourists as a livelihood others provide services for a fee.
Tents and chairs are arranged in one long strip across the beach. These are charged by how many seats are needed for your party. It is important to say here, that to enjoy the beach, you should come with your picnic fares and games. This is because the island lacks electricity so things such as drinks and snacks are quite exorbitant at the beach. Everything they need is bought and brought from the mainland for sale. Common vendors found around the beach are coconut sellers, swim wear vendors and Art work vendors.
For fun, you can take a walk to the village or around the beach, play beach volleyball with a ready net, and swim. There is an available crudely constructed changing booth for a fee or simply sit back under the shade of your tent and have a relaxing afternoon. Though this beach is accessible only by water, the tourist traffic has never ceased to amaze me!
This article was written by Adedolapo George
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